Hundreds of residents from communities in St. James and Westmoreland have benefitted from free health services through the Don Daly Medical Mission.
The eight-day programme started on December 10 and ended on Monday, December 17.
A 55-member team, comprised of volunteers from the Florida-based Nova Southeastern University (NSU) offered free medical checks, optometry services and pharmaceuticals at locations throughout the two parishes.
The mission, which started 18 years ago, is the brainchild of Jamaican radio host in Florida, Don Daly, and Jamaican-born doctor and Associate Professor of family medicine at the NSU, Dr. Paula Anderson-Worts, with support from the Sandals Foundation.
Dr. Anderson-Worts, who spoke to JIS News at the first clinic held at the Flanker Resource Centre in St. James, said that the initiative started as a desire by medical students to provide service to people in need “and they approached me.”
“Being Jamaican and also being someone with a heart of service, it was a natural thing to come back to provide service to the people of my country,” she said.
She noted that there was an overwhelming response from the residents of Flanker, who have expressed gratitude to the medical team.
“They are very appreciative of the service because some of them would have difficulty paying for their medications or even getting the services that they need so they are grateful to be receiving care at no cost,” she says.
Occupational therapist and volunteer, Nardia Aldridge, who treated patients with mobility challenges, told JIS News that a number of persons were provided with devices that will enable them to be independent in their daily living.
She said that patients were also engaged in one-on-one sessions on how to deal with pain, joint and muscle difficulties, and improve their gross motor skills.
“We work with clients, who have anything from back pain [to] any type of injuries, but we look more in terms of their functions. So, if they have anything limiting them from eating, walking, moving around, getting dressed, then we focus on these things. A lot of times people don’t know some of the fundamental things that they need to be aware of so we do a lot of education,” she explained.
Residents of Flanker, who turned out for the clinic, had high praises for the medical professionals.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing that they have done because a lot of us as seniors, we are not able to go to the doctor regularly and the clinic is right here so we do appreciate the visit and what they are offering the citizens here in the community,” said Juanita Hilton.
Ann-Marie Dawkins, who is asthmatic, told JIS NEWS that the free clinic saved her a visit to the doctor.
“For us to have the doctors to come free to look about persons, that is very good for our community,” she added.
Throughout the day, prescriptions were filled and eye glasses, canes and dental supplies distributed to patients.
Sandals Resorts Regional Public Relations Manager, Ian Spencer, for his part, said that Sandals is pleased to be associated with the mission and expressed gratitude to the medical team for serving the people of Jamaica.